Monday, September 19, 2016

Monday Poetry Stretch - Haibun

The haibun is is a poetic form first created by Matsuo Basho. It is a form that combines two modes of writing—prose and verse.

Here are some of the "rules" of writing haibun, as suggested by the Haiku Society of America.

Prose in Haibun
  • Tells the story
  • Gives information, defines the theme
  • Creates a mood through tone
  • Provides a background to spotlight the haiku

Haiku in Haibun
  • Moves the story forward
  • Takes the narrative in another direction
  • Adds insight or another dimension to the prose
  • Resolves the conflict in an unpredictable way, or questions the resolution of the prose.
  • Prose is the narrative and haiku is the revelation or the reaction.

In a haibun, the prose can come first, last, or between any number of haiku.
Haibun also have a title, something haiku generally do not.

You can read some examples and see different haibun forms at Writing and Enjoying Haibun and More than the Birds, Bees, and Trees: A Closer Look at Writing Haibun.

I hope you'll join me this week in writing a haibun. Please share a link to your poem or the poem itself in the comments.


  1. Bedroom Musings

    I am sitting up in bed, accompanied only by the crickets singing outside my window and the soft breath of wind. Yesterday’s storm has passed and with it the heavy blanket of despair. Now in the dark, the quiet, the
    tick of midnight’s clock, I am ready for sleep.

    The night’s own counting:
    Owl call, cricket, passing bear,
    Moves me through my age.

    In the daylight I don't announce my years, walking like the young woman I once was. I am some mythic creature energized by light. But night time, alone, I count the hours, so many behind me. So few still to go. I am glad
    for the hough of passing bear, the dueting of barred owls, the constant thrum of crickets. They remind me of what comes after.

    When I am over,
    Small natures will still exist,
    Counting down earth's time.

    1. Jane,
      So lovely,
      inviting the 'small natures' to be there
      right inside your room
      to join your reverie. j

  2. Treasure

    One acre this year.
    A Quaker with a vision,
    another the next.

    The Genesee River flows north. In her wake she’s managed to leave one magnificently lovely canyon. Once the delight of the western industrialists, with her currents and depths and access to Lake Erie, they quite well proceeded to bring her to ruin. Or would have, if it hadn’t been for a Buffalo Quaker named Letchworth. The man fell in love with what wasn’t there, redeeming the breadth of the stretch ‘long side eight cataracts from destruction and shame and disgrace.

    He saw the future,
    bought it and filled it with trees.
    Wander and wonder.

    It’s above the middle falls where sits William Letchworth’s old mansion, The Glen Iris. An Edwardian beauty, her porches command a view second to none that I’ve seen. And the roar. Oh, the roar! Constant thunder. Proclaiming prominence and grandeur and place. Unlike Niagara, these falls scale to the real-enough-to-believe, yet effecting that eerie sense of numinosity. Song birds call the sun to rise mornings. Eagles swoop rising air currents then dive for their breakfast. The buck and his doe wander the shallows, in the shadows of trees. It’s a forest of giants. A full hundred or more varieties of species brought in through the years by Letchworth as saplings and planted.

    Well-tended garden
    bearing the mark of hard times.
    in Memoriam.

    I’m a willing prisoner to this piece of our planet and it’s anthem to our collective history: pre-Columbian, post-colonial, the age of industry, an ecologist who didn’t know he was. But it’s my foot-fall on the well-laid stone steps that breaks my heart: time of The Great Depression and the young men of the CCC. No work at home. They came to the banks of the Genesee River to earn a few dollars in the shade of William Letchworth’s exotic trees, with the wondrous, thunderous roar of the Middle Falls unrelenting in their ears.

    © 2016 Judith Robinson all rights reserved.